Tag Archives: cuddles

On being right here, right now

Earlier in the week, I wrote about how sad I was that my youngest is starting nursery school. Not so much the separation – he has been in childcare for a couple of years so that I could work, so we are well used to that. No, more the fact that him starting proper nursery feels like the passing of yet another stage of our family life, and the realisation that they are all growing up faster than I can get my head around.

What’s worse, there seem to be whole chunks of their babyhoods that I just cannot remember. I know the last eight years have happened as there is photographic evidence of varying quality, but I’m extremely sketchy on the details. Whether this is a normal side effect of motherhood, or age related, or early onset marble loss, who knows, but I’ve decided to do something about it and list five things that I’m loving about my kids right here, right now, and then revisit a couple of times a year. So here goes!

One – they are good company! It is just lovely, and fascinating too, getting to know them as they develop their personalities and opinions. I love the fact that as they get bigger, our conversations are getting bigger too. It’s refreshing to realise that you’ve just spent a whole hour chatting to your kids without a single interjection of ‘please can you share nicely’, ‘don’t forget to say thank you’, ‘no, I do not want you to poke my tummy with a toy umbrella so you can see if there is a baby growing’. I used to look forward to Thursday nights because the Husband works and therefore I could get the kids to bed and I could go to bed right afterwards…now I look forward to them as a chance to have some chilled out time chatting with the big ones about anything and everything.

Two – doing things together. I need to be more alert to the opportunities for this. For example, I was getting ready to go out for a run on holiday (miracles do in fact take place, here in Wales) and my biggest boy asked if he could come along. I wanted to do a reasonable distance so it was on the tip of my tongue to say no – then I realised that he could easily manage it on his bike, so he put his helmet on and off we went – he even did us a mid-run selfie! We’re going to do this more often, and he’s also asked if he can try out running one day with me too, so who knows I might actually get a running buddy out of it!



Three – they have, very recently, started playing imaginary games together for decent periods of time. By decent, I mean a couple of hours, so enough time for me to give the house a quick once over. If I wanted to. Which I obviously never do (I’ve got LearnerMother to play with, after all). But it’s good to know that I could clean, if an emergency arose. And more than that, it’s lovely to listen to them all. (I thought I should stick that in, I mean this post is supposed to be about what I’m enjoying about my kids and I’m not sure that enjoying the fact that they leave me alone in peace and quiet is quite in the spirit of it.)

Four – I love watching them help each other. It makes me so happy when I see the big ones showing the littlest how to do something – and they are much more patient than I am! This week they have been especially lovely – the youngest does not approve at all of nursery school, but I’ve overheard several (unprompted) conversations between them where the big ones have made a real effort to reassure and encourage him. And it’s not just helping each other – they have a great memory for items on the shopping list that I’ve invariably left on the table; they can get iPlayer and Lovefilm through the Wii, AND they pick up the windfall apples for 20p a time – bargainatious exploitation it may be but I reckon can just about live with it.

Five – reading together. I know I am not supposed to say this, but this has not been a non-stop unadulterated joy. I’ve always done it, and the kids have always enjoyed it, but after the 7684th reading of the Hungry Caterpillar (yep, my kids know what they like, and they like what they know) the shine does wear off a bit. Recently however, reading to them has become a whole lot more fun – they’ve started to get into the idea of having a chapter a night of a longer book, and even the littlest will sit and listen. We recently finished Five on a Treasure Island, and I’ve just started on A Little Princess with my girl – she is absolutely entranced, not only by the story, but about the fact that she is reading a book that I loved too at her age.



So there you have it – five things I’m loving about my kids right now.

What about you? What are you loving, right here, right now, about your family?

On personal space

I have been trying to kick back a bit at home lately, and not be constantly rushing around doing chores and admin. It’s all part of my trying not to sweat the small stuff, and generally trying to be a more chilled out and less stressy person to be around.

There’s been some good things about this – for example I have learnt that the world does not stop if I do not  empty the dishwasher the minute it finishes. (It does stop, a tiny bit, if the dirty dishes are not put in the dishwasher the minute the meal is over, but hey – small steps and all that.)

But one thing that is definitely NOT good about all this flipping chilling out is the vastly increased opportunities this gives my kids, big and small, to use me as some sort of human climbing frame. I mean what is with this constant bloody mauling? I cannot sit down anywhere, for one SECOND, without someone clambering all over me. I don’t mean coming for cuddles – I cherish the cuddling – it’s one of the best things about being a Mum. No, what I mean is the pulling at my hair ‘to see if it will get longer’, the fiddling with my earrings, the climbing on to my shoulders, the poking at my tummy to see if there is another baby in there (THERE IS EFFING WELL NOT), the sliding down my legs and demanding ‘giddy up horsey’.  If I happen to have the laptop, or the iPad, yes, those things that I saved up for, for bloody ages, and which, might I remind everyone in this family, are actually MINE, then without a shadow of a doubt there will be a head pushing its way under my arm or over my shoulder to see what I am doing, and if I am not doing it quick enough, then a hand swiping at the screen ‘to help, because I know how to do it quicker than you, because you’re quite old’ – yeah, THANKS.

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of magnetic force field around me. It does not matter how happily ensconced and absorbed they are, the nanosecond that my tired backside comes within an inch of a seat of any description (yes, this does include the loo seat – note to self – BUY LOCK)…as I was saying, my ass, a sitting device, line ’em up and it’s like one of those reversing sensors go off on my kids’ heads. BEEEEP she’s lowering herself BIPBIPBIP oh no, false alarm, she forgot her beer, BEEEP she’s back BEEEP it looks like we’ll have docking this time without any further hitches,  BEEEEP she’s braced for impact  BEEEEPBEEEPBEEEP and she’s down! And not one second after the P of the final BEEEP and they all appear, literally from nowhere, they just come out of the walls or something, ready for some pawing/pulling/poking action on whatever part of me they get to first. FFS.

This grates a bit, as the day goes on. Sometimes I get to the evening and I feel that if I come into physical contact with one more living creature, that I might actually implode. This is bad news for the cat, who waits till they’re all in bed before slinking in and demanding fuss from me; it’s also bad news for the Husband, though at least they can console each other whilst shooting hurt and mournful looks at me. As long as they are doing it from the other side of the room, that’s just fine. Get any closer and I might get violent.

Is it just my kids? Do they grow out of it?? Or should I resign myself to the fact that nothing, NOTHING, not even my elbows FFS, are mine any more?



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On trying not to multitask

I have been making a conscious effort to be more ‘present’ with the kids recently, and to multitask a little less.

It bothers me that I have become really good at carrying on a conversation about the school day, at the same time as sending an email, checking the work twitter account, deleting spam from the shop facebook page, juggling money between accounts to avoid overdraft and checking what the weather will be like tomorrow. Admittedly all these things need to be done at some point, but probably not right now. My problem is that I’m very much a right now sort of person, and I do genuinely find it really difficult not to do something if I know it needs to be done. And smartphones – brilliant as they are – only make this tendency worse in me. So I’ve changed a few things – I’ve put my email on fetch rather than push; I’ve turned off @notifications beeps for the twitter accounts I am responsible for; I’ve taught the husband twitter too so he can deal with the shop account; but most of all I have tried to change this mental inability to switch off from work/shop life when I am at home.

Tonight, for instance. Tonight I was going to bang out a couple of emails while the youngest was watching the Night Garden, but I decided – no, I was going to leave the emails and watch it with him. So I put my phone to one side, out of temptation’s reach, and cuddled up with him on the sofa. Then suddenly up he jumps and runs to the other side of the room to bring me my phone.

‘No sweetheart, I don’t need my phone right now, I’m having some special time watching the Night Garden with you’.

I watch his little face, waiting for the beam of happiness that would surely come from having my undivided attention.

And I am indeed rewarded with a beam, a massive grin from ear to ear. A lovely warm feeling washes over me. Yes, I should definitely do this more often. Look how happy he is, just from having even a small amount of one to one Mummy time.

‘Really?’ he says, ‘Don’t you want to do Mummy’s work on Mummy’s phone?’

‘No, Mummy doesn’t need her phone now – Mummy can do her work later’.

An even bigger grin. Oh, how I am mentally polishing my mothering halo. And then, slowly, reality dawns as his grin gets bigger again…

‘Oh, good. That means I can play Angry Birds!’